Monday, December 05, 2005

THE NATIONALS LONG-AWAITED SALE

It is the time for Mayor Anthony Williams to feel glad as Major League Baseball is ready to contribute the cost involved in the planned stadium for the Nationals. The contribution is going to put baseball in a partnership with the District, instead of a one-way road that overtaxes the city. The city is close to a provisional stadium lease agreement with baseball that would clear the way for a new stadium for the Washington Nationals and the acceptable sale of the team. The agreement states that baseball would give $20 million to an emergency fund to meet the expected costs and guarantee rent payments.

However, MLB is yet to set a lease agreement for the sale of the Nationals. And at this end eight bidders are ready to pay $450 million for the team, which is currently owned by the other 29 major league teams. If the deal is peacefully takes place the $20 million will go toward the costs involved on the $535 million state-of-the-art ballpark. With a player payroll still to be determined by Major League Baseball, Nationals President Tony Tavares is going to join General Manager Jim Bowden at the meetings. This move is necessary to give the impression that the Nationals won't be mere spectators when the meetings commence. MLB still owns the team more than 14 months after it moved the franchise from Montreal.

The Nationals will try to improve on a club that went 81-81 and finished last in the National League East in 2005. This season, the Nationals have already lost two of its most important pitchers -- starter Esteban Loaiza and swingman Hector Carrasco -- to free agency in deals that totaled more than $27 million and by far the only additions have been bench players Marlon Anderson and Damian Jackson.

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